You landed an internship at a reputable non-profit organization and the excitement to start the opportunity is increasing. The truth is, a University education does not always prepare us for working in the real world. What do you do next?
The charity sector has opportunities in administration, retail, support services, business development, and education. The experience offers opportunities for people prepared to work hard and are ready to improve.
Here are a few helpful tips to enhance your chances of success as a volunteer.
1. Figure Out What You Want
Now is the time to start writing down goals by using your imagination. Think big. It is important to be realistic about the status of the economy, your education, and if the skills you possess are consistent with the company needs. Understanding what will make you happy can prevent a lack of job satisfaction.
- What is your dream company?
- Where do you want to work? Are you prepared to move for a job?
- What do you want to learn from the experience?
A plan can help to find the right opportunity that is in line with your long-term career goals.
2. Update Your Resume
Update my resume? Absolutely. It is better to be prepared with an updated resume from the experienced gained at a charitable organization for a potential job opportunity that is open to internal staff.
For example, if you are in administration and need to complete an administration resume, tailor the resume to the job description. One of the mistakes that young adults in the workforce make is to use a generic resume for all job application submissions. Human Resources professionals can discern the difference between job seekers that tailor their resume for the job and those who don’t.
3. Add Effective Keywords
It is important to add resume keywords because human resources use a software called ATS (Application Tracking Systems) to find candidates. An example of keywords for a student studying journalism could be “journalism,” “social media,” “news reporting.” The student resume without keywords is more likely to be rejected for a journalism (or any other) job.
I recommend using keywords in the job description to add to your resume to increase the chance of being contacted by a recruiter.
4. Learn All You Can About the Company
As you work as an intern, learn about the CEO and economic progress of a company. Ask questions in team meetings and join colleagues when the organization is discussed. I recommend you learn the following about the charitable organization:
- Industry terms
- Review social media profiles of management
- Read news updates on the charitable organization
- Research the history of the company from the first owner to the present
A graduate or student that knows more about the company than its employees is one that managers and executives want to be introduced to and it can increase the chance of being hired permanently after the internship ends.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Employees that work with interns understand these people lack experience. However, it is to your advantage to ask questions to avoid mistakes. The act of asking questions shows maturity and a person that is serious about being efficient with a project.
6. Master Office Politics
Office politics and gossip in the workplace exists in all organizations. It is to your advantage to learn about the workplace culture in the first few weeks of the internship. The workplace internship can include the following:
- The personality of people that get ahead at the company
- Style of fashion
- The key players on the team that can help you
Once you are familiar with office politics, you can position yourself with the right people in the organization that will have your best interests in mind.
7. Network with Employees
One of the mistakes some interns make is not connecting with colleagues and people in other areas of the company. I recommend sending a thank you note to members of the team a week before the internship ends. You can send a goodbye email to the team and include a phone number, email, and social media accounts for the people that have an interest in connecting with you after the program ends.
You can socialize and network with employees by going out for tea during a break or attending personal events with colleagues after work hours. It will help the team see a different side of your personality and it can lead to a colleague sponsoring you for a new job opening.
8. Be Open to Change
The experience of working in the charity sector will help improve maturity. The discussions with people in need and the career advice offered by professionals working for over a decade at the organization can change the way you look at life. The experience can help with patience, plan for a career, improve interpersonal skills, and enhance a resume sent to future recruiters.
9. Solve Organizational Issues
Solving organizational issues with analytical skills is a somewhat high-level responsibility. It can sound intimidating to figure out ways to reduce costs or increase revenue for a company.
Think about an ongoing issue the team is unable to solve. Dedicate a few more hours per day to figure out a solution. Once discovered, present the idea in a team meeting.
I recommend that you constantly search for an opportunity think with the mindset of solving issues employees are unable to resolve.
10. Assert Yourself for Success
Being assertive is essential. The intern that is with a company for six months that does not ask for a full-time opportunity out of fear of rejection will lose. It is the first thing you want to mention in the job interview, the middle of the internship, and at the end. In general, people respect interns that are confident and ask for what they want in life.
Once these tips are applied throughout the term of the internship, it will get you closer to accomplishing the goal. If you do not land a full-time job, ask the employer if they can refer you to another organization hiring a person with your skill set. Good luck!